Corruption: Senate Begins Power Sector’s Probe


The stage appeared set for a comprehensive probe of the nation’s power sector as the Senate declared on Friday that officials of the Federal Ministry of Power, its departments and agencies and other key players within the sector would soon appear before it. The Chairman, Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Power, Senator Abubakar Kyari, stated this when the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, inaugurated the 14-member fact-finding panel at the National Assembly Complex. Kyari said:

“The abysmal performance of the generation segment is n o longer news in view of the current deteriorating power supply which hovers around 4,600MW for a population of over 170 million people, despite the huge resources committed into it.

“The committee will beam its searchlight in this direction to put things in proper perspectives, and having realised that the transmission segment is the major linkage between the generation and distribution fronts, increasing our capacity in this direction is also very necessary, since power produced must be utilised immediately.

Kyari added that the committee would seek explanations from the management of Transmission Company of Nigeria on the terms of its management contract with the Federal Government as it relates to assets inherited, funds injected into the company and the achievement recorded. On the distribution segment, the senator said the committee was desirous of ascertaining the level of funds committed into it before privatisation since the segment was currently solely private sector driven.

He stressed the need for vigilance as successor companies were expected to bring in investments to improve the quality of services. However, he added that signals emanating from their activities showed that excessive profiteering had been the major determinant of their decisions. He also said that it was on record that some of the distribution companies reject power load allocations to reduce cost.

He said their metering system of the distribution companies calls for a fundamental review, since the emphasis had been on estimated billings and imposition of fixed charges for services not rendered. Kyari further explained:

“There have been a lot of unwholesome practices by some of these companies, the committee has to get down to the root of these problems especially where provisions have been made in the past through appropriation, prior to privatisation and funds were not properly utilised.


“We must find out what has brought us to this sorry state. The National Integrated Power Project was designed to fast-track the improvement of electricity supply nationwide, hence it was involved in project implementation across the gamut of the power chain.


“However, some of the power plants built have not been able to contribute meaningfully to the power generation through the National Grid. The resources committed to these projects are enormous and the committee, in keeping with its mandate, would be seeking answers in order to chart the way forward.”

However, Saraki asked the committee to work towards the resolution of all the challenges currently facing the sector, stressing that the country’s economic woes could only be addressed when the power sector was fully functional. He said the immediate concern of the 8th Senate was to use every legislative instrument at its disposal to ensure that “light replaces the darkness” in the country. Saraki said:

“Our economy cannot be prosperous without addressing the problems of the power sector. The power sector is a key driver of the economy.”